Monday, August 25, 2008

I Digress, some more, again.


White Deer Skin Dance, photo taken by Pliny E. Goddard, in 1906, in Klamath.

Spyrock brought up the subject of the "Ghost Dance" that I always thought of as a later day Invention by the Indian People, that was kind of like a prayer for the White man to go away, and good hunting, and good times to return.
I don't know how far back in history it may go, but the Ghost Dance was a late Eighteen-hundreds invention, and was mostly practiced by the Lakota.

The more I learn about the Indian dances, the more confused that I get. From what I understand the Indian dances were all directed toward renewal, for good things to happen again. The White Deer Skin Dance was a prayer for good Salmon runs and good acorn crops to happen again. They were done at the full of the moon in August or September.

The Ghost Dance was a dance done by the plains Indians and was something that an American Indian Prophet, the prophet of peace Jack Wilson, known as Wovoka among the Paiute, dreamed about and called for his people to follow. Wovoka was not unlike Mahatma Gandhi. He told his people to remain peaceful to themselves and the White Man. But, it was the Ghost Dance that precipitated The Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, which resulted in the deaths of at least 153 Lakota Sioux. The white man misunderstood this dance of peace and renewal for a war dance. A Good description of what happened at wounded knee is in this article.

The Ghost dance only became popular after most of the north coast massacres had already happened. (Late eighteen hundreds)

Circle dances are popular throughout history, in all cultures, and go back so far that it has no historical beginning. The Druids did circle dances, Ring Around The Rosy is a circle dance. Every culture gives the circle their own meaning or twist but they have happened since the beginning of humankind.

14 comments:

spyrock said...

He was raised to view all life as sacred. "Everything is alive and has a spirit to it. The rocks, the mountains, streams, animals, plants, birds, oceans, and so forth," he says. Everything is connected just like a spider web. I don't think the ghost dance is really anti-white, it's just a return to being connected to the earth you live on. Lots of people are disconnected these days. They come in all colors. I see the ghost dance as symbolizing a return to a being a whole person and a re-creating a whole earth. Thanks for turning me on to Corbin. I've never heard of him before.
I sort of became facinated with the Modocs after reading Joaquin Miller's, Life Among the Modocs.
Of course Miller is one great bullshistorian but still a good read. However, he really spent his time with the Shasta Indians so I had to read all these other books about the Modocs to figure out who they were and whether or not they could have killed my ancestor. Because it was his job to take Indians to the reservation
sometimes, the Modocs have the reputation for being the most resistant in the area. So it's sort of my best guess.
Thanks for telling me the Indian name of the Spyrock Indians. My cousin, Jerry Ann, who spent alot more time in Spyrock than the rest of us, told me that Uncle Howard had Indians living on his property until his death. I don't remember seeing anyone else when we used to drive in back in the fifties. No houses, way more trees. We would barely make it up the first hill off 101. They said Pappy used to drag a log behind his car to keep the brakes from wearing out.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Spyrock, it is strange that you would mention that what Burning Man and Reggae Rising need is a "Ghost Dance". Reggae Rising and Reggae on the River before that have opened with a Native American blessing and consecration. A local elder, Fred Coyote Downey, does the main blessing. It is a very elaborate blessing, complete with drumming, burning sage and prayer.

I’ve talked to Fred, and he calls himself a “Kenneste” which is a “human being” in his language. The local historians call him a “Wailaki” which is what the Indians who were asked, back in the pioneer days, called any Indian. Roughly translated it means “Those people over there”.

I’ve never had the time to listen to much of the opening ceremony. But, I know that it is all about the land, the environment and peaceful co-existence. A great many of the Indian people have started coming to the festival. Maybe I should start paying attention!

This is a link to a blog that someone wrote about the Indian blessings.

And this is a link to a bit of bullshistory that I wrote about .the early White / Indian conflicts.

spyrock said...

I'd never been to Covelo before. Four years ago, just like this year our legion team won its first two games and had a day off. We tried to get into Spyrock first and failing at that we took the old Dos Rios road straight east of Laytonville. We stopped at a store with a bunch of locals sitting on a bench in front chewing the fat that must have been inspired by the greasy burgers they cook inside. We wound up at the cemetery south of town. The first tombstone I saw as I got out of the car was Samuel, Charlotte, and Joe Simmerly. Inside my mind, I could feel my ancestors gather around me.
I felt strangely happy for being in a graveyard, it was hard to leave. They've been pulling at me to find out stuff about Spyrock ever since that day. Like they want me to know their story, what happened there and who their part of me is. So its because of a bunch of ghosts that I found y'all, maybe your ghosts are there with them laughing about us talking to each other. You can call it DNA if the word ghost scares ya. I've tried to understand what quantum physics is at the same time. The quantum field, the web of spider woman, it's all the same eternal present.
I believe that you can change the past and future in the present moment. I believe that you can make amends and dream a new world into existence. These beliefs are my understanding of what quantum physics says it means to me. The latest science not hocus pocus. but like your Indian elder at the music fest said, words just bounce off how you are conditioned to understand, so can you feel the respect instead? respect for your ancestors, respect for yourself and
respect for the earth.

spyrock said...

On a trip to see my college buddy Bob at his home near Mt Konocti, I stopped at the Foster Freeze in Cloverdale sometime in the late 60's. A very friendly older man came up to me smiling and asked me where I'd been and when was I coming back to Covelo. He was Indian and said goodbye after some people told him it was time go. He looked at me like he totally thought I was someone he knew. Well that's what it's like for me on Ernie's place. I feel like I could have written the same thing that so many different posters write. I almost feel like I don't have to write anything because someone else will write it if I don't.
I don't know what you guys call this tribe but I really feel lucky to have found you. Looks like there's plenty I've missed. That was a really good blog about local white/indian relations back in January.

ben said...

Spyrock... That Covelo graveyard is magical. Many of the characters from Lynwood Carranco's history: "Genocide and Vendetta" are buried there. The book is hard to find as it was threatened with a plaigerism lawsuit, but many libraries have it. The villanous Wylackie John Wathen is there along with his boss George White. The Rohrbaugs, the Redwines, the Henleys and my heroine Edith Van Allen Murphey are all there along with many others from "The Last of the West".
It may be that some Modocs were brought to the Round Valley Reservation along with their southern neighbors the Pit Rivers though I have never heard of that. I think you would be interested in the description of the Ta'No-M initiation rite in Kroeber's Handbook of the Indians of California. You will find the description on page 192. The lake mentioned is in Wailaki territory and was used by all the neighboring Indians. It is on Lake Mountain south of Kettenpom.
A wonderful new resource for anthropology can be found at anthro-hub a UC site. If you have high speed internet you can download many articles and books. Query "Round Valley" and you will find Frank Essene's Cultural elements which has some Nancy Dobey stories from (presumably) Spy Rock. Just skip the lists and charts and read the other stuff, especially the writing about Lucy Young, an Alderpoint Wylacki. Query "ghost dance" and you will find Cora DuBois' work. The internet is now truly amazing and addictive. Go to the "Online Archive of Californis and click Images the find pictures of Laytonville, Round Valley and maybe Spy Rock. Endlessly fascinating. Ernie seems to have found it for his White Deerskin Dance picture.

ben said...

P.S. When I get a little time, I'll write about the Ghost Dance coming to Garberville in 1872 or so.It was called the Big Head.

Jim Baker said...

Damn, I wish I had more time to participate in this blog! But it's good reading and I know Ben will continue to guide the bullshistorians back to the trail if they start wandering off. Coyote would remind us not to overintellectualize (whoops-I'm doing it) these topics, although the truth of the basic facts are still important, I believe. Good to spend some time at the graves of our ancestors, whoever they were, as Spyrock points out. Spend more time in graveyards and in the woods with your mouth shut and your ears and mind open. Which brings to mind the subject of hunting - what it meant to Indian people, what it means to those of us who grew up in a culture in which it was an annual rite, and incidentally, how the hell the NRA morphed into a political organization. When I was a boy, its primary purpose was providing gun safety classes to kids. Now it apparently publicly winks at an old fat man shooting his hunting partner in the face with buckshot if he happens to be the vice-president of this country. Great PR for kids learning gun safety, guys. My grandfather once told me if somebody was stupid or careless enough to shoot at me, don't wait to ask him why he did it - shoot back. The world would be safer without him and nobody would convict me for defending myself. Lucky for me I never had to make that decision until I got old enough to know the difference between bullshit and genuinely good grandfatherly advice (I think). What do you guys think? On the subject of World Renewal ceremonies (only one of several types of dances which local Indian cultures participated in) -- purpose was to put the world back in balance for another year, and a big part of that was to forgive others who may have transgressed against you in the preceding year and apologize for your own transgressions - I like that, and it sounds vaguely familiar in the Christian tradition.
Enough of this geezer talk. My nephew was a bass player in the punk rock band "the Distillers" and more recently "Angels and Airwaves" and I try to associate exclusively with his age group so as to not be mistaken for an irrelevant geezer like we all were during the Black Bart Rock discussion. The language I learned working in the woods fits right into the patois on their websites, so I'm accepted without question as a contemporary as long as I stay away from photos.
Spyrock, I heard some time ago Frank James (brother of Jesse) owned a ranch in the Spyrock or Iron Peak area in his later years. Bullshistory or fact?

spyrock said...

Hi Jim and Y'all. Well there's more than one Spyrock out there. One in the Ozarks. One in Virginia that was used by the Confederates as a Lookout. Frank and Jesse were Confederate sympathizers. I don't think it was our Spyrock. Uncle Delbert and my mom did meet a gunslinger on the road to Spyrock school. My mom kept riding the white mule to school while Delbert thought it best to talk to the stranger. He was looking for someone and asked him if he knew where they lived.
Of course, Delbert wouldn't have told him if he knew. But to them, this guy was an outlaw.
The following is the latest on Spyrock. The Wildlands Conservancy bought the Spyrock Ranch and has plans to buy land all the way from Dos Rios to the Pacific so that kids can take canoe trips down the river and learn about nature. The Ranches will be spaced at one day intervals with docking and campgrounds at each location. Here's the story in the order that I copied it...The Man Behind the Land
By Kenneth R. Weiss
October 27, 2004 in print edition A-1

He has given more money to conservation causes in California than anyone else. His gifts have helped protect 1,179 square miles of mountain and desert landscapes, an area the size of Yosemite National Park.

His donations to wilderness education programs have made it possible for 437,000 inner-city schoolchildren to visit the mountains, the desert or the beach – often for the first time.

Over a decade of steadily growing contributions – including more than $100 million to the Sierra Club – this mathematician turned financial angel has taken great pains to remain anonymous.

In manner and appearance, David Gelbaum has maintained a low profile for someone who can afford to give away hundreds of millions of dollars.

At age 55, retired from the rarefied world of Wall Street hedge funds, he lives in Newport Beach with his wife and two of his five children in a large home where visitors on occasion have mistaken him for the gardener. Bespectacled, 5 feet 5 and slightly built, he speaks softly, barely above a hoarse whisper. He drives a Honda Civic hybrid, wears jeans and T-shirts to business meetings and helps the kids clean up at the wilderness camp-outs he sponsors.
David Gelbaum showed early prowess in math, taking calculus at UC Irvine while still in high school. Months before he graduated from UCI in 1972, he was hired by math professor Edward O. Thorp to help with a business that needed a math researcher.

Thorp, who wrote the book “Beat the Dealer,” about how to count cards and win at blackjack, was applying mathematical wizardry to the largest crap game in the world: Wall Street.

His formulas, which later appeared in his book “Beat the Market,” led him to launch the nation’s first market-neutral hedge fund – one intended to make money for investors whether the market goes up or down. From 1970 to 1989, the fund never had a losing quarter and increased investors’ money more than 13-fold.
The Wildlands Conservancy acquired the 5,832-acre Spy Rock Ranch. The scenic Spy Rock Preserve has five miles of Eel River frontage and draws its name from the 540-foot conical rock promontory that rises from its eastern shore.
This great western river deserves a landscape protection program as inspiring as the ancient redwoods on its banks and the spectacular landscapes that rise from its shores. The Wildlands Conservancy’s goal in establishing the Eel River Emerald Necklace is to acquire a system of preserves along the 120-mile stretch of the Eel River between Dos Rios and the Pacific. Ideally, these preserves and protected public lands will be within a day’s hike or canoe trip from each other, and have a landing and a campground. In years to come, these preserves will make each river trip a journey back in time.
These preserves will preempt logging and the ever-increasing residential conversion of wild lands. They will help protect over 75 mammal species and over 400 bird species found in the watershed. The Eel River Emerald Necklace project will promote landscape connectivity and complement existing efforts to restore the salmon fisheries. The Wildlands Conservancy's education program will increase awareness of conservation issues associated with the Eel River Watershed, and Conservancy land stewardship will serve to convince officials that they have a private sector partner dedicated to the river's restoration.
Anybody seen the movie 21? Imagine little Gelbaum playing cards back in the Covelo Saloons for Ranches. Not everyone is going to like this back to nature trip for the eel. But it looks like I better start learning how to paddle and stay afloat in a kayak.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Spyrock Do you also have an uncle Bud and an aunt Peggy, and do you know someone named Betty???

spyrock said...

I've drank alot of bud over the years and it's my nephew Tom's favorite. I do have an Aunt Peggy but she was just one of my mother's teachers and really just a friend. And one of my first girlfriends in 6th grade was named Betty. She was good at playing spin the bottle and got sent home from school one day for not wearing any underpants. Seriously, I think I do have an Aunt Betty. My mom's cousin and one of Uncle Guy's children. And Bird Simmerly not Bud was married to Frank Simmerly.
Catherine Simmerly married a Foord out of Ukiah and they had four sons who all sort of look like me.
Samuel and Charlotte had lots of kids when they moved to Covelo from Marysville around 1870. The family history page is buried under a bunch of boxes in the bedroom. I found a letter from a Patton lady who was great grandma Laura's sister asking her if she knew anything about the family. So they got spread out in time and space.

spyrock said...

Grandma Laura's youngest brother was adopted by the Applegates. The Applegates were some of the first settlers to come over the Oregon trail and had a hand in trying to round up the Modocs. The Modocs were sent to the Klamath Reservation and left in 1870 to go back to their own land, the year of the ghost dance. I actually read that they went as far south as Clear Lake in some of their raids on settlers farms. I don't recall their ever being sent to Round Valley. They always sent them to live with the Klamath Indians whom they supposedly hated.
1870 was when my ancestor died. Nothing else was going on. The Cahto and Pomo were relatively peaceful compared to the Modoc. The Modocs had been tricked years earlier when Captain Jacks father had been killed in a massacre. Under a flag of truce, they killed US General Canby and a Minister. With names like Bogus Charley, Hooker Jim, Shacknasty Jim, Curley Headed Jack, Steamboat Frank, Humpey Joe, and on and on and on, they held off a 1000 men from their lava beds and where actually taunting the soldiers yelling that they were bored with killing so many of them while the soldiers could do nothing to them. It was my ancestor's job to take Indians back to their reservation. So he might have traveled north to help the Applegates out. Who knows. But the Modocs are the usual suspects for 1870 period.
You could say that maybe it was a different Clear Lake and a different Applegate. All I'm saying is that it's my best guess.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Spyrock
Sorry for asking. The people that I mentioned were all members of the Miller family, that lived between Dos Rios and Spyrock. In fact, they still do.

I was trying to ask in a way that wouldn't bust your I.D.

Robin Shelley said...

Keep goin', Spyrock. I'm listening.

spyrock said...

Spyrock
Sorry for asking. The people that I mentioned were all members of the Miller family, that lived between Dos Rios and Spyrock. In fact, they still do.

I was trying to ask in a way that wouldn't bust your I.D.

I wish I knew all the people that I was related to on the Simmerly and Klauber sides of the family.
I'm probably related to the Millers and lots of other people still around. Thanks for making the connection for me. You would know better than anyone who I might be related to. When their parents died in the 1870's, all 7 children went to live with different people and some of them took their new families names like the baby Robert Applegate. There were other Simmerly kids in Covelo besides John. I will have to find that list of names again. In Families which can be bought from the Covelo Library there are a few pictures of Simmerlys including Josephine Simmerly Lovell. Thanks about making me think about the fact that a lot of my relatives including me aren't named Simmerly and some never have been.
When you wrote those names, I just thought of the people I already knew with those names. I didn't get that you were trying to make a connection for me. So don't stop trying.
As far as busting my ID. Well, that's sort of what I'm trying to find out anyway. Who am I? Where do come from?